This week, host Grant Guillot of the law firm Adams and Reese was joined by Senior Research Fellow at Mercatus Center at George Mason University Brent Skorup, who recently published his research ranking all 50 states in terms of friendliness for drone operations.

In the past several years, the UAV market has exploded with technological growth, and aviation regulators have not been able to keep up with the amount of innovation occurring. Some of the delay by regulators goes back to a a fundamental question — should the local or federal level make key decisions?

Skorup discussed which states topped his list of being the most free for drone service providers, and a bulk of the list are states traditionally known for low government regulations like North Dakota, Oklahoma, Vermont and Texas.

One of the biggest areas of the country that fell low on the list was the Southeast corridor of America, which did not surprise Grant, a lawyer in Louisiana with working knowledge of companies in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.

Skorup also discussed how this section of the U.S. has not been on the list of areas selected by the FAA for participation in specialized projects with the private sector.
Central to Skorup’s research regarding what determines a state that allows more independence for drone operations was his belief that the future of drone services consists of a “drone corridor” across our nation that is built along our pre-existing infrastructure.

He envisions the ability for companies to fly a route that follows a “highway,” with the federal government superceding small, local lawsuits. Nearly every state that ranked highly on his list allow “leasing of airspace above public roads,” which would enable this idea of a “drone highway” in America.

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